Robert E. Lee on His Horse

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I keep on telling you about artworks commissioned by Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. (ex Buffalo and Company). And today’s artwork features General Robert E. Lee – a commander of the armed forces of the Confederate States of America. This is second time that I create a drawing featuring Robert E. Lee for this company but this time the drawing depicts Robert E. Lee on his horse called Traveller. The drawing is based on a well-known photo taken during the American Civil War.

Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveller
General Robert E. Lee on his horse Traveller

photo of Robert E. Lee on his horse
This drawing is based on the famous photo of Lee and his horse

I believe that the idea to add the Lee’s horse design to the collection of t-shirts from Buffalo Jackson Trading Co. was prompted to guys from the company by the General’s letter to his wife’s cousin, Markie Williams, who wanted to paint a portrait of Traveller. The letter went like this:

If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate gray.

I can feel from the letter that Robert E. Lee loved his war horse as a dear and faithful friend. In those times of war a solder’s horse must have been his most precious friend asking only for a little bit of love and care to be able to give up life for the sake of his master. No wonder Robert E. Lee loved his horse and appreciated all the good qualities of Traveller which must have saved his life in battles many times.

Robert E. Lee horse t-shirt
This is how the drawing looks on a t-shirt from Buffalo Jackson Trading Co.

Another pleasant surprise for me in the story of Robert E. Lee was the fact that his merits are never forgotten despite his being a representative of the so-called Lost Cause. His name is remembered and his deeds and wisdom are honored and respected. A lot of people, even outside the USA, call him a hero. It is surprising to me because a Civil War also happened on the territory of my country a century ago. Names of quite a lot of decent people who had lost this war were completely forgotten and even now when truth is beginning to emerge many great personalities killed in that war are only known to those who has special interest in history. When I think that Robert E. Lee’s horse is more honored in the United States of America than some great representatives of my nation in my country I feel sad, but at the same time I cannot but feel happy for American people who have been protecting their freedom for centuries and have been cherishing it as one of their greatest values.

Related posts:
Another portrait of Robert E. Lee by me
General Stonewall Jackson
Drawing of a white horse


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